WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, decrying Russian President Vladmir Putin’s "brutal assault on the people of Ukraine," announced a second wave of economic sanctions against Russia and pledged to deploy additional U.S. troops to protect neighboring NATO countries.

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war and now he and his country will bear the consequences," Biden said in a speech from the White House. He spoke hours after Russia launched a series of airstrikes on Ukraine and as Russian ground forces continued to cross into the sovereign nation.

Biden, after meeting with his National Security Council and leaders of the Group of Seven coalition of nations, unveiled sanctions aimed at bruising Russia’s economy. The sanctions freeze a combined $1 trillion in assets held by Russia’s four largest banks, target some of Russia's wealthiest individuals tied to Putin, and impose import restrictions on high-tech goods.

"We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen," Biden said of the agreement among G-7 nations to issue a coordinated response.

The sanctions come on top of a first tranche of sanctions announced by Biden on Tuesday that targeted two other major Russian financial institutions and blocked Russia from raising money from western financial institutions and barred the country from trading "its new debt on [U.S.] markets or the European markets either."

The United States and G-7 leaders on Thursday stopped short of removing Russia from the international financial system known as SWIFT, despite a plea from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Russia to be cut from the program, which facilitates financial transactions across different countries and different currencies.

"We demand the disconnection of Russia from SWIFT, the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and other effective steps to stop the aggressor," Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet.

Biden said "it is always an option," before noting "that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take." Financial analysts have raised concerns that abruptly removing Russia from SWIFT could lead to economic consequences for other countries enrolled in the system.

The president argued that the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and other allied countries "exceed SWIFT."

"The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done," Biden said. "The sanctions we imposed have generated two-thirds of the world joining us. They are profound sanctions. Let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working."

Deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh, speaking at the White House news briefing, said the sanctions would cause Russia’s currency to weaken, lead to higher inflation and would directly hit the pocketbooks of Putin’s circle.

"Those who shared in the Kremlin's corrupt games, and stored their wealth in yachts and luxury condos and fancy cars, will now share in the pain of these measures," Singh said.

Biden reasserted that he will not deploy U.S. troops to fight in Ukraine, but said he had authorized the deployment of additional troops to Germany and had ordered troops already stationed in Europe be moved to NATO’s eastern flank to boost support for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

The Pentagon announced that 7,000 U.S. troops will deploy to Europe in the coming days, adding to the more than 90,000 U.S. troops already stationed in Europe before the start of the conflict.

"The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power," Biden said.

The president, acknowledging the prospect of increasing gas and oil prices spurred by conflict, urged American oil and gas companies to "not exploit this moment to hike the prices to raise profits." Biden said the United States will release additional barrels of oil from its strategic reserve.

"I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump, this is critical to me, but this aggression cannot go unanswered," Biden said. "If it did, the consequences for America would be much worse. America stands up to bullies. We stand up for freedom."

Biden, who spoke with Zelenskyy by phone late Wednesday night, said the United States will provide humanitarian relief to Ukraine as it fights against Russia.

"This is a dangerous moment for all of Europe, for the freedom around the world," Biden said. "Putin has committed an assault on the very principles that uphold the global peace."

Latest videos


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months